Opening Address for the IMS10

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Tokyo. I am Hiroko Sano of the English Department here at Aoyama Gakuin University. It is my great honor to be here as Chair of the Organizing Committee for the 10th International Milton Symposium. This is the first time that the IMS has been held in Japan. Most of you have travelled so far from the world over. On behalf of the Organizing Committee, I cordially welcome you and hope you will spend a nice and fruitful time during the conference.

First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your effort to visit Japan in spite of many difficulties. Since I took the duty of Organizer of IMS10, many problems have continuously worried me: the Lehman Brothers Shock in the fall of 2008, a sharp decline in world economy, the excessive strengthening of the yen (I feel very sorry about this in particular), unusual climate and political instability all over the world.

These things with the crushing blow of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and the ensuing accident at Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in March last year! The Organizing Committee made a hard decision to postpone the symposium one year. This was an indescribable year, indeed. However, I received warm encouragement and support from overseas Miltonists. Most of them trusted in IMS10 and Japan, and remained as speakers.

We rescheduled IMS10 and resumed preparation. Up to recent days, to my great sadness, there were several withdrawals owing to unexpected illness. I really regret the year’s postponement. I do miss quite a few people who were supposed to be here. But I see new faces as well as the old familiar faces. I am deeply touched at such a big gathering here in the Far East. There are about 150 registrants from 17 countries. It seems as if it were a miracle. So, my present feeling is “Long is the way / and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light” (PL. II. 432-33)! Today we are now gathered east of Eden in Tokyo meaning “the eastern capital.” I do hope everyone will enjoy not only promoting scholarly exchange but also meeting Japanese people and culture during this occasion. Now our Olympiad starts. Thank you very much.

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